****PLEASE LISTEN CHURCH****
I see a divide happening within the body between the new emerging leaders of a Jesus Centered Movement and the remnants of 3 decades of the greatest explosion and prosperity of church history in America. What I am saying is that God is doing a new thing and he tearing away an old system that brought both fruit and decay into the body. Let us please allow this wineskin burst.
I grew up in the 80’s as a child. The days where I could ride my bike down the street past dark, not wear helmets, leave your kids in the car while you go into the grocery, you know what I am talking about. Something else was stirring in the 80’s. The church was experiencing the birth of the Charismatic Renewal, in other words, the gifts of the Spirit were beginning to flow in great power from the same group who found salvation through the Jesus movement. Not Just that but the Baptist were growing leaps and bounds through the Gospel meetings of Billy Graham stretching coast to coast filling out stadiums.
This great unity through revival brought the Church under this banner of the Charismatic outpouring and Moral Majority. This is what I grew up in and it was beautiful but it had like every other movement its pitfalls. I am going to talk about what I believe these pitfalls are. And trust me I am sorry you’re going to be upset but we need to have these discussions.
The first one is we traded Jesus for a party. We literally backed the Republican party and blurred the lines between Jesus and part. This is what I mean. In 1979 Jerry Falwell who lead the largest independent Baptist Church started a movement to unify Christian to have a moral voice in Government called Moral Majority. Shortly after James Robinson started a movement called the Gospel Coalition of America. These two forces unified a divided Church of Baptist and Charismatics to change the political landscape in the Reagan years. Social justice took the place of revival. The church stopped praying and just started voting.
For the first time, the Church had a voice in government. They desired to erase the boundary of separation of Church and State. They eagerly push legislation to enact moral change in America. In other words, they desired to legislate Jesus. The problem so often, their character did not align to the person of Jesus and the world saw the Church on the stage of politics “playing the role of hypocrite!” This slowly chiseled away at the cultural influence of the Church had in the world.
The second thing is the Church left the revival held in the tents and fields in the poverty-stricken areas of the 50’s through the 70’s and built cathedrals in the richest parts of towns. The mentality was to plunder the rich to help the poor. Instead, we left the “heart of Acts 4 of giving all we had to the mentality of giving to get all we can.” We built monuments to men and forsake our first love.
The third is, in the fear of losing what we had we adopted an American governmental structure within the Church. Pastor became self-appointed Apostles “CEO”S”, “Presidents, elected politicians” with boards. Their priority was to keep the machine rolling. It became about preserving a legacy, building, salaries! Coverings, spiritual authority, shepherding, Fathering, discipleship, all became terms of control. Leadership was your ceiling and their anointings validated there overreach of authority. The Ten Commandments became the standard, not the Spirit. People, well, just weren’t smart enough to hear him, according to Leadership. They became the voice of the Holy Spirit to a bible illiterate people who were just happy that their tithes were causing them to prosper.
As the overreach of authority continued the spirit began to lift. Suddenly the joyful burst out of Hallelujah now became a rehearsed entertainment. Whitewashed tombs stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Yes, we would all hear about the few breakouts of the spirit, Brownsville, and Toronto in the 90’s but the movement as a whole was gaining water quickly and people were jumping ship. This has to lead us to the largest exile of youth in the late 90’s who received their news from the Daily Show and Cason Daily live on VH1.
They did not want religion they didn’t want Jesus. They were so filled with condemnation and guilt that they ran for the hills as the world came in as Titus to destroy Temple in 70 AD. Scandal after scandal rolled in the first years of the 2000’s, not to mention a failed attempt by the church to claim the day and hour of Christ’s Return “Y2K!” The world was taking out the church like fish in a barrel. This hating of religion has lead to what I would call the largest hijacking of grace leading people into complete universalism. I hate this with all my heart.
Now here comes the next wave of leaders. Here come the children of a movement that built the largest church buildings in history. Some now still sit vacant today. Empty tombs where people died giving their every penny to support a man-made dream. In the middle of the ashes of a broke down movement arises a Jesus Centered People. A people filled with Fire moving in Power, strong-willed I might add, who despise religion. I often get pegged by the older generation as one with zeal but lacks wisdom. ”You’re a rebel”, they quickly say. Asking who my covering is or who I am submitted to. All question the generation above Jesus asked Him.
I will tell you what we want. We want Jesus. We do not want your churches. We do not want your sheep. We want Jesus and if it’s not in His life then we don’t want it in ours. You can have your buildings. We want the streets, the fields, the marketplace. We want power and love, not charisma. We want cancer to be destroyed and we will lock ourselves in a closet until we walk in Jesus to do so. We care less about your spiritual pedigree, but how you love.
We want the 5 fold, we are not against it. We need Apostles and Prophets leading through the Spirit. We just believe they’re the floor, not our ceiling. They are there to equip the Saints not stifle their calling and gifting. We do not believe in clergy and layman but that all are priest and kings. We believe that grace is not the covering of sin but the empowerment to overcome sin. That we are under that supernatural grace that allows us to walk in the Spirit, not the law. We don’t want to give 10%. We want to give 100%, cheerfully.
We actually believe that we can raise the Dead, cast out devils, heal the sick. We are not trying to protect ourselves. We will go to the darkest placed to reveal light. We want to become extravagant lovers of Jesus who are lost in this sweet romance. We are ready to die for him. We are sold out. Now let’s work together to destroy hell. WE JUST WANT JESUS!!!!!!!!!
David the psalmist once worshiped and praised before the Presence of God ushering it into Jerusalem. His extravagant praise drew criticism from his wife who was cursed with barrenness for her judgment. David later in his life wrote that God himself enthrones Himself upon the praise of His people.
The problem I see in most churches is that we had traded praise for the performance. Leaving little for God to enthrone Himself upon. To lose His presence is to perform. But who are we performing for?
Samson through disobedience lost the presence of God. The Bible records the story in an interesting way. The very enemy that Samson was given the strength (that came through God’s presence) to destroy now called upon Samson to perform and entertain them. The most amazing thing is…he did.
I find that churches across the States are not entertaining angels but demons. Performance is demonic. We are not called to perform but to minister to the Father. Do not allow your church to become a hospice where people come to die. Instead of dance, praise, worship into a place of Divine presence.
I often see that most of our criticisms toward others has to do with the fact that they do not look nor act like us. Jesus once said, I make all things new…not all things you! God longs to manifest His spirit through your unique expression. There will never be another Smith Wigglesworth though I long to manifest Gods glory like him. Never again will we see another Wesley, Finney, Katherine, or Bonnke. Instead, He desires to do a new thing.
Let us cease from being critics of others and even ourselves. As we gaze into the Glory of the King, He releases His Spirit to manifest through our person. Let us position our hearts to be instruments of Righteousness, revealing the Gold trapped within people. Conformity and unity must only be gathered around Jesus, not a person but a King. This allows His good works to be uniquely manifested through individual callings.